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bag0k
11-27-2005, 02:19 PM
I had tons of trouble taking pictures at the end of the AUSA masquerade. After all of the skits, the groups came onto the stage and posed so people could take pictures. I swear, I spent more time fiddling with the settings on my digi camera than actually taking pictures! My family's camera is pretty sweet; it has all sorts of settings for all sorts of situations, but none of them seemed to work! Either they flashed twice and I got it all blurred or it turned out all yucky and dark. I think I finally got it down right as the photo op ended and just turned the flash off, but I want to make sure that's the best setting to use.

So basically, what's the best setting for a digital camera if you're taking pictures at the masquerade?

TomodachiFriend
11-27-2005, 03:33 PM
Since not all cameras offer the same modes, I can't tell you which one to use but there are a few mistakes I often see from people who try to take pictures of masquerades with their point and shoot cameras. First, there's the "hold at arm length because it's a digital camera" error. If your camera has a viewfinder, use it. Then, there are the people who shoot with flash. The built-in flash can't reach the stage and your camera thinks the burst of light will lit the scene, which isn't happening. Your pictures will come out dark and muddy.

jtnishi
11-27-2005, 05:28 PM
TomodachiFriend is definitely right about the flash. Flash stays off. It's mostly pointless. If you can control a factor known as exposure compensation (basically, making the picture darker or lighter), then you'd also do well to turn down the exposure (make the shot darker). If you understand photography terminology, it's best to drop the exposure 1 stop (-1.0 EV). That'll compensate for any strong lighting such as from spotlights that'll overexpose shots.

I won't say anything about holding the camera off at arms length. I think that with digital LCD screens, if the shot is even feasible, it might be plausible to use a half arm's length, as long as that half arm's length is used in the right direction: up, above peoples' heads, with the caveat that you probably ought to try to avoid obstructing peoples' views behind you if possible.

If you have full control over your camera, such as with a D-SLR or with a relatively powerful standard digital, and you have a willingness to lighten shots after the fact in editing, then it pays to use a mode that allows you more control over the speed of your camera (shutter priority), increase the camera's sensitivity (ISO setting), and maybe even take the shot dark. It's better to have a dark but focused & relatively sharp picture than a decently exposed but blurry and unusable shot.

Also, if you're any further than about 7-8 rows back, it almost isn't worth wasting your time trying to get the shots. Better to put the camera away and just enjoy the event straight up, since if the event is sufficiently large enough, someone else is bound to get better shots. I know that with my DSLR, that with my longest telephoto lens, beyond row 7, the shots start becoming way too small for usability.

Just my thoughts.

Shiro MS08th
11-28-2005, 02:16 AM
I had tons of trouble taking pictures at the end of the AUSA masquerade. After all of the skits, the groups came onto the stage and posed so people could take pictures. I swear, I spent more time fiddling with the settings on my digi camera than actually taking pictures! My family's camera is pretty sweet; it has all sorts of settings for all sorts of situations, but none of them seemed to work! Either they flashed twice and I got it all blurred or it turned out all yucky and dark. I think I finally got it down right as the photo op ended and just turned the flash off, but I want to make sure that's the best setting to use.

So basically, what's the best setting for a digital camera if you're taking pictures at the masquerade?

Use manual or aperture priority and pump up iso to 400-800.
And also use an external flash + wide angle diffuser.
Build in flash won't help in stage shots.

bag0k
11-29-2005, 09:36 PM
:O um... can someone please explain this in lamen terms to me..? I don't get all this camera jargon... >_< So basically what I'm guessing to do is "don't use the flash?"

jtnishi
11-29-2005, 10:19 PM
:O um... can someone please explain this in lamen terms to me..? I don't get all this camera jargon... >_< So basically what I'm guessing to do is "don't use the flash?"
If you're close enough to actually shoot the masquerade, then the best thing you can do is yeah, turn off the flash. The rest of it, well, you probably should just look up in your camera's manual about maybe an action shooting mode (or sports mode or something like that). Other than that, hold your camera tightly & carefully (or use a tripod), because a lot of shots are probably going to be blurry. You might look in your manual for something about "exposure compensation" and set it so that pictures look darker than normal, but other than that, if the jargon doesn't make sense, I don't know if it really can be explained differently.

Unfortunately, since it's apparent that a lot of the people who frequent this part of the forum tend to actually be solid hobbyists, it's kind of hard to tone down the jargon at times. It's really easy to forget that the vast majority of people who use cameras out there haven't worked with a camera beyond the simple principle of "point the camera, push the button".

Kokuu
11-30-2005, 01:51 AM
Having a monopod or a tripod is critical for shooting good masquerade photos. The last masquerade I tried to shoot I did hand-held and I had to lean up against a pillar to reduce as much camera shake as possible, which was rather uncomfortable- so next con I'm bringing my tripod with me. I bump up the ISO to 800, since with my Canon EOS 300 I can still get pretty good photos, but since I don't have the fastest lenses in the world since I'm poor, it's still really hard to get good photos, which is why having a tripod or a monopod- if space is an issue- helps a lot. You might want to consider having a remote shutter release to even further reduce camera shake, if that's still a problem.

Most cons don't allow flash during the masquerade, and most built in flashes won't reach far enough, since they typically have a range of about 10 feet.

TomodachiFriend
11-30-2005, 02:43 AM
Bag0k, were you using the Kodak LS443 at the masquerade?

While in record mode, go into the menu. Look for "Exposure Compensation" and set it to -1 or -2 (just try to see what looks best since not all stages are the same). You must do this because pictures taken at masquerades usually contain a lot of black although I've seen places use blue backgrounds.

Another thing you could try if the background is mostly black is to select "Multi-Pattern" in the menu. Change it to "Spot", put your subject in the middle of the picture and your camera will mostly ignore the dark background.

Shiro MS08th
11-30-2005, 08:37 AM
:O um... can someone please explain this in lamen terms to me..? I don't get all this camera jargon... >_< So basically what I'm guessing to do is "don't use the flash?"

Well basically just get yourself an external flash that attach to your camera's hotshoe.

Then shoot with flash.

Try aperture priority for a start with iso 400-800.
And see how dark the place it is.
The aperture to use can varies from f/2.8-5.6 to use.
But a safe bet to make it sharp is to use f/4-5.6.

Well people may recommend to use tripod without using flash, but it's a stage act or something, if you use slow shutters like a few seconds, when they move, it will have those motion blur.

So in my opinion an external flash is a must for indoor stage shots.

jtnishi
11-30-2005, 09:49 AM
Having a monopod or a tripod is critical for shooting good masquerade photos. The last masquerade I tried to shoot I did hand-held and I had to lean up against a pillar to reduce as much camera shake as possible, which was rather uncomfortable- so next con I'm bringing my tripod with me. I bump up the ISO to 800, since with my Canon EOS 300 I can still get pretty good photos, but since I don't have the fastest lenses in the world since I'm poor, it's still really hard to get good photos, which is why having a tripod or a monopod- if space is an issue- helps a lot. You might want to consider having a remote shutter release to even further reduce camera shake, if that's still a problem.

Most cons don't allow flash during the masquerade, and most built in flashes won't reach far enough, since they typically have a range of about 10 feet.
It's actually not absolutely critical to have a tripod if your tools in post processing can handle lightening a shot and you can control your exposure speed. The shots I got from the masquerade at AX (which came out quite acceptable) were all about 1-2 stops too dark, but still lightened and sized down just fine (resizing downward resizes out a lot of noise, giving a couple stops advantage on ISO - one of the big benefits of always shooting large). I shot them at 1600 speed on the same lens that I believe you have: an 80-200/4.5-5.6, at the far end (f/5.6). So it's definitely possible.

Well basically just get yourself an external flash that attach to your camera's hotshoe.

Then shoot with flash.

Try aperture priority for a start with iso 400-800.
And see how dark the place it is.
The aperture to use can varies from f/2.8-5.6 to use.
But a safe bet to make it sharp is to use f/4-5.6.
Those instructions might work, but not in all masquerades stateside. In general, most of the people photographing a masquerade can't get close enough to the stage to use a flash, and in many cases, masquerades out here are done on spotlit stages in a dark hall, with thousands of people viewing. I think those instructions'll probably work if you're talking about situations where photographers can get in relatively close (within 20 feet, or about 6-7 meters) and where subject lighting isn't so strong. It might be a different style of masquerade where you're at, so that's why there's probably that difference in philosophy.

=====

bag0k, I think when we all made our recommendations, we neglected to ask a couple of very critical questions: what is your relative experience level, and what is your camera? These might tell us what actions would be most likely to work. Shiro MS08th's instructions would only make sense if your camera was of a professional style where you could actually control those elements, and even then, might not work out here.

I'm also starting to sense that in general, for questions asked on this board, it might pay to note in the original question message relative experience and equipment (or at least, equipment style), if it might be relevant.

Super No 1
12-03-2005, 10:19 PM
I'll agree with the no-flash crowd. A lot of conventions don't allow the use of flash and even if they did, you would probably be out of range for it to be of any benefit. Plus, you would miss a lot of photo opportunities while waiting for the flash to recharge. Cameras are pretty smart and if you keep the flash off, it will calculate the best exposure for the existing conditions. You have to trust your equipment a little bit.

I don't know what equipment everybody uses, but I like to use continuous focus and continuous shooting. I set the ISO to 1000 or greater and use spot metering most of the time. I also use aperture priority mode and set the f-number to 3.2 or lower.

I've been to some conventions where the conditions were horrible (no stage lighting and dimmed house lights). That's when you put the camera away and call it a day.

Shiro MS08th
12-04-2005, 03:04 AM
It's actually not absolutely critical to have a tripod if your tools in post processing can handle lightening a shot and you can control your exposure speed. The shots I got from the masquerade at AX (which came out quite acceptable) were all about 1-2 stops too dark, but still lightened and sized down just fine (resizing downward resizes out a lot of noise, giving a couple stops advantage on ISO - one of the big benefits of always shooting large). I shot them at 1600 speed on the same lens that I believe you have: an 80-200/4.5-5.6, at the far end (f/5.6). So it's definitely possible.


Those instructions might work, but not in all masquerades stateside. In general, most of the people photographing a masquerade can't get close enough to the stage to use a flash, and in many cases, masquerades out here are done on spotlit stages in a dark hall, with thousands of people viewing. I think those instructions'll probably work if you're talking about situations where photographers can get in relatively close (within 20 feet, or about 6-7 meters) and where subject lighting isn't so strong. It might be a different style of masquerade where you're at, so that's why there's probably that difference in philosophy.

=====

bag0k, I think when we all made our recommendations, we neglected to ask a couple of very critical questions: what is your relative experience level, and what is your camera? These might tell us what actions would be most likely to work. Shiro MS08th's instructions would only make sense if your camera was of a professional style where you could actually control those elements, and even then, might not work out here.

I'm also starting to sense that in general, for questions asked on this board, it might pay to note in the original question message relative experience and equipment (or at least, equipment style), if it might be relevant.

Yep.
Maybe due to different countries style.

In my country, cosplay events stage shows.
Photographers can get as close to stage as in just directly infront.
So we have no problem in using the flash and there is no ban on activating flash and all.
So that's why I though of recommending my setup.
Didn't know it's not that feasible over other countries events.